Connect from the outside in.

When developing a new marketing campaign, it’s good to remind yourself of an obvious fact: Your target audience is not you.

Why? Because sometimes it’s easy to kick off a project based on knowledge you have and unintentionally forget that, while your audience/consumer understands their own needs, they most likely do not know everything that you know about your organization, product, or service. You need to put yourself in their shoes—in their situation, inside their head. Sometimes, it’s helpful to pretend you know absolutely nothing about your brand/product/service and what makes it special. And start thinking about communicating from that point. Not from some midpoint that assumes a level of knowledge that you and your organization have. Avoid what Chip Heath and Dan Heath call “the curse of knowledge” in their must-read book Made To Stick.

Your internal POV may or may not be relevant. What is definitely relevant is where your target market is—what their day is like, and how what you offer fits in and makes something better for them. Your job (and ours too) is to connect those dots for them. How does your website support a parent researching a school online at 10pm? Does the site navigation reflect your organization’s internal structure (which is probably not so relevant to them), or does it reflect the questions your prospects have, the process they are immersed in, and support them in that activity (at 10pm when your office is closed)?

It’s about building a relationship. Demonstrate that you understand your audience and how your offering fits a real need that they have. Create a dialog, with good branding and customer experience from points A to Z. They will appreciate it, and they’ll probably tell others too.